In Defiance of Global Warming...

Good news for everyone lamenting the unseasonably mild winter conditions stubbornly lingering across Europe: A high-tech outdoor skating rink has opened in Tallinn's Old Town. The brand-new rink, next to St. Nicholas' Church on Harju Street, was opened just before Christmas and is purportedly weather-proof. It's whiz-bang (ie. Finnish) technology maintains an ideal ice surface even in temperatures 10 to 15 degrees above zero, and in the rain! The 1,350m2 rink can accomodate up to 125 skaters at a time, is fully lit at night and has a state-of-the-art sound system to ensure that everyone can ice-dance to the Ghostbusters' theme at least once a night.

If you need a break from skating, or a little warm-up, the Estonians have you covered: there are benches in one corner of the rink where you can rest your feet, and a cafe next to the rink that sells coffee, tea, mulled wine (the preferred choice), pastries and other snackies. Toilet facilities are also nearby, as are lockers where you can keep your belongings safe. Truly the new facility is striving to impress, with no stone being left unturned.

The only slight irritant is the extremely complex pricing system they've created. The cost per hour of using the rink varies, depending on the skater's age and the day of the week. From Monday through Thursday tickets are 30 EEK for children up to 13 years old, and 50 EEK for anyone older. On Fridays and the weekend, the costs are 35 EEK and 60 EEK, respectively. Even the cost of renting skates varies based on shoe size (now that's just discriminatory): 15 EEK per hour for sizes 2436 and 20 EEK for sizes 3747. You must leave something as collateral (ie. passport, first-born son) so don't lose that ticket stub!

The new rink is open daily from 10:00 to 22:00, and will stay open until mid-March. The city also plans to have the rink open next year, well after the polar ice caps have officially melted. What better way to get a tan than ice-skating?

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